As a significant consumer of energy, the mining industry is one of our primary markets in Africa. It consumes approximately 30% of total energy usage across the continent, and we intend to be a leading player within this market.

Alex Caldwell & Alistair Jessop

HEAD OF MINING & HEAD OF POWER, VIVO ENERGY

August 11, 2021

Can you give an overview of Vivo Energy and the company's role in the African continent?

AC: Vivo Energy is a market-leading, pan-African retailer and distributor of high-quality fuels and lubricants to retail and commercial customers across the continent. We not only ensure a reliable supply of high-quality fuels and energy to a wide range of customers, but also support those products with extensive and trusted know-how.

AJ: We have primarily distributed high-quality Shell fuels and lubricants to our mining customers, but with the launch of our power division, we now look to provide innovative commercial solutions offering hybrid energy solutions that displace power generation from the grid or on-site fuel generation plants. As a significant consumer of energy, the mining industry is one of our primary markets in Africa. It consumes approximately 30% of total energy usage across the continent, and we intend to be a leading player within this market.

How do you position yourself competitively in the market?

AC: Shell has been named the leading global supplier of lubricants for the fourteenth year in a row, and we are very proud of the high-quality products we distribute. Our technical support is also what differentiates us in the market, including contamination control and ensuring the correct product usage. Using our Shell LubeAnalyst, LubeExpert, LubeAdvisor and LubeAnalyst lite portals, we assist our clients in site audits and find areas of improvement, saving them money and time. We also tailor our products to our clients’ needs. For example, to address a client’s fuel theft challenges we would offer vendor inventory and fuel management systems.

Can you elaborate on Vivo Energy's sustainable solutions offered to the mining industry?

AJ: Africa has excellent mineral and solar wealth, so our energy solutions utilise the sun's energy through photovoltaic panels. Batteries and energy management systems are combined with thermal generation and the grid, which allows for a solution that displaces the majority of the generation required that would normally be provided through the burning of hydrocarbons such as coal, diesel, or heavy fuel oil.  

Vivo Energy looks to provide a solution where we install, own, and operate the hybrid power part of the plant. We then sell the generation to mining operations under a power purchase agreement. We do this without going to banks for financing, allowing us to massively simplify the transaction. We will provide fuel and lubricants alongside solar power under two separate agreements and can offer balance sheet solutions that mean we can work with the mine and take views that will not be possible under a standard finance type structure.

What is your outlook for the future of hydrogen in mining?

AJ: Hydrogen will be part of the energy mix in the future, but we are yet to see how the mining industry will adopt it. For an energy solution to be viable for mining, it must be an applicable and reliable technology. Hydrogen might not offer reliability yet, but it will reach that point and will be a disruptor moving forward.

Where do you see the highest growth potential for your Power division and Vivo Energy?

AJ: The gold price is driving a significant amount of activity within West Africa, but we are also working with mines producing other commodities such as graphite, copper and diamonds. We understand our customers and are heavily focused on being the best provider of services and products wherever the demand might be. Leveraging on Vivo Energy's extensive network and customer base, Vivo Power is adding to the offering and is poised to become a full-service energy partner to the mining industry across the African continent, focussed on sustainability and lowering operational cost.

AC: We wish to consolidate our growth in West Africa for our industry-leading technical services and identifying cost saving areas for clients. We also wish to build our reputation and customer base in Southern and East Africa.

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